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Sweating Problem Effectively Treated

Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,

I have extremely sweaty palms and carry a handkerchief in my pocket with which to wipe my hands. I am very self-conscious about this and get embarrassed when shaking hands. Is there something that I can take to stop the sweatiness?



Dear Anxious,

You can try using an antiperspirant deodorant on your hands to see if that helps. You can also try rubbing cornstarch or talcum powder on your hands. If these products do not help, then excessive sweating (palms, armpits, soles of feet) could be a medical condition called hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis affects nearly 8 million people in the United States. You should see a physician to diagnose the problem and determine the best course of treatment. For hyperhidrosis, there are possible five treatments discussed by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD at and briefly outlined below.


Treatment options for hyperhidrosis are administered according to the site and severity of the symptoms and include:

1. Botulinum Toxin: promptly freezes the nerve that would normally stimulate the sweat gland.

2. Topical Agents: prescription highly-potent topical antiperspirants that contain 12 percent or 20 percent aluminum chloride.

3. Systemic Agents: anticholinergics, a class of medicine that calms muscle spasms and includes drugs for depression, anxiety, and nervousness, can be taken orally to prevent sweat gland stimulation in some patients.

4. Iontophoresis: water conducts an electrical current from an electronic device through the skin's surface, thus inhibiting sweat production.

5. Surgery:

a) sweat gland resection involves removal of the sweat glands.

b) endoscopic transthoracic sympathectomy (ETS) clips the nerves that carry the messages to the sweat glands.

For more information, see